S2Episode17 Showing Up To Start

February 7, 2024

Good morning from Milano. What’s on my mind this morning is what it means to be a newbie. I actually looked it up this morning. Rookie. Novice. Amateur. Amateur has more of the tone of inept or incompetent, but novice is about being new to a certain task or situation. It’s probably pretty clear that this is on my mind because last night was the first Rocket Fuel group call.  It was the very first time in my whole life that I have been the person that gathered people for anything beyond a basic dinner party. I will get to it, but before I do so I want to talk about something that happened on the pickleball court.

I took the train up again to play pickleball with this new group of people and my new bestie Carlo picked me up, and he showed up with his wife, Valeria. Well, it turns out that Valeria was a newbie at Pickleball. One of the great things about Pickleball is there’s this ethos of being very welcoming and helpful to new people because the bottom line is once you’ve played one game, you really do get the hang of it quite quickly.

Anyway, we get on the court. Valeria is telling people that she’s new and she basically struggles through the first game. What I saw was this mix of excitement, engagement and a willingness to try together with her absolute unwillingness to try to learn the rules as we were playing.  I shouldn’t use the word unwillingness because it was really more about her knowing herself. She just wanted to get through the first game and she was instructing us not to keep telling her the rules.

It was really cool because I saw the whole process. I saw her show up and be vulnerable, get frustrated, and sit out some games. Then when she showed up to the court later on in the day, she was fully there. It was almost like I could physically see what it meant to show up to the start line, get to the first finish line, and then show up stronger, more focused and more determined than ever. It was really cool also to see her husband not only modeling this Pickleball ethos of being patient and supportive but doing so with his wife. We all know that sometimes with a family member these things can be a bit charged. Anyway, the reason I’m telling this story is because this morning I was realizing that she foreshadowed for me the experience that I was about to have with the rocket fuel call.

Two other things I want to say about this.  One is something that came out of a coaching session some years ago. What came out was that I had set the stakes really high in my mind about whatever it was I was trying to do. This has been helpful to me in many different occasions. I think it’s good to think about where the stakes are. Have you perhaps set them too high ?  How might you rethink that? Jow can you lower the bar?

The other thing is that in our willingness to be a beginner, we are in some sense giving other people permission. We’re modeling what it looks like and we’re giving other people permission or other people the encouragement to maybe do the same in their own life and that’s a beautiful thing.

You know the more I think about it, this idea of the stakes being high at the end of the day is sort of a self-imposed spirit killer. I mean, if you think of the enormity of what Billy Joel said in the New York Times that he hadn’t written a song in 22 years because – I think he said something like because he set the stakes so high for himself – that he didn’t put pen to paper. Or if he did – I shouldn’t assume that he didn’t put pen to paper –  but if he did, he never dared to share it with the world.

Gosh, just think about that for a minute. If someone like Billy Joel sets the stakes high in his mind and doesn’t put his work out in the world, think of all of the beautiful things that people are making in the world that they’re afraid to share.  It’s really quite astonishing. actually, it’s something I know that we can all relate to. We hold ourselves back from doing things – from trying things, from putting ourselves out there, from making art and music, from creating a workshop.  Hell, look at me. I was afraid of inviting people to a Zoom call.

I find it a little bit sad and that’s an important note to self for me as well. What are the stakes? What are the stakes you’re attributing to whatever that thing is that you want to make or try or do or become? And how can we lower the stakes? How can we be more playful, more curious and go with the hmm, or the what if questions. Or my favorite question of all time, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Being game, being playful, being courageous – it’s a muscle I want to keep flexing. It can be stressful and it’s not always fun, but it’s very rewarding.

I read a great quote that resonated so much for me and it’s this. Imposter syndrome is an egocentric state. Isn’t that a good one? Let me say it again. Imposter syndrome is an egocentric state It’s something we can think about in this context as well

I see from the stopwatch that I have gone on for quite some time here, and I’m going to take that as a sign that perhaps it’s better to share some of my takeaways and some of what came out of the rocket fuel call for Friday.

So I’m going to end here. Until next time, from my heart to yours.

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dear Listeners,

Friends say I live my life out loud. That’s because I’m a curious, adventurous person and, as an appreciator, I simply love to share what lights me up. Consider this is your invitation into my fun, multi-faceted world.

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